"Let books be your dining table, / And you shall be full of delights. / Let them be your
And you shall sleep restful nights" (St. Ephraim the Syrian).

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The Byzantine Prothesis Rite

One of the happy developments--among many--of our time in Eastern Christian studies is the development of Eastern, especially Byzantine, liturgical history. A steady stream of solid works continues to emerge, including this recent contribution by Stelyios Muksuris treating the preparatory rites of the Byzantine liturgy: Economia and Eschatology: Liturgical Mystagogy in the Byzantine Prothesis Rite (Holy Cross Press, 2013), 253pp.

About this book several prominent commentators have this to say:
"I extend my appreciation to Father Stelyios for this significant theological and spiritual offering on the Prothesis Rite of the Divine Liturgy. His analysis affirms how our worship and celebration of the Holy Eucharist connect our past, present, and future as Christians - how the Liturgy offers a continuous witness of Christ's Passion, of the living and transforming message of the Gospel, and of the fulfillment of all things" (Archbishop Demetrios of America, Primate of the Greek Orthodox Church in America).

"Remember when they stopped making computer manuals, and to avoid going mad you had to buy Mac for Dummies? Well, Fr. Stelyios has written that manual for the Byzantine Prothesis rite. From now on, whoever wants to traverse that largely uncharted minefield will have to have this book in hand" (Robert F. Taft, S.J., F.B.A., Professor Emeritus of Oriental Liturgy, Pontifical Oriental Institute, Rome, Italy).

"'Liturgical mystagogy,' writes Fr. Stelyios Muksuris, 'intends to raise the spiritual consciousness of the worshipper, from a trivial vision of the ritual acts conducted in the church to a deeper understanding of the meaning behind those acts... It attempts to convey the invisible divine presence through the visible human act.' With this book, Fr. Stelyios has accomplished just such a mystagogy. He has enriched immeasurably my own appreciation of the preparatory ritual performed before the celebration of the Divine LIturgy. I am indebted to him for this book. My experience of the Liturgy will never be the same" (Metropolitan Savas of Pittsburgh, Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Pittsburgh, PA).

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